Issue 132

February 2009


  • Now February 2009

    Coming in February: Super Bowl XLIII, Toy Fair '09, and the transition from analog to digital TV

  • Mobile World Congress Preview

    Cell-phone honchos meet in Barcelona, Spain, February 16-19 to talk — in person — about their sector's possibilities and challenges. Four gave us a preview.


  • Nine Experts on Why Darwin Still Matters

    On February 12, 1809, little Charles was born. Two hundred years later — and 150 years after the publication of his landmark treatise "On the Origin of Species" — scientists, thinkers, and leaders talk about how the evolutionary theorist changed our lives and their work.

  • Next-Gen Investing

    Giants like Fidelity and hot startups such as Thrive are developing new technologies to soothe bewildered investors.

  • HP Introduces Bright Colors for Somber Times

    Every year, color and material consultant Laura Guido-Clark helps HP update its memory-keeping products — customizable photo albums, posters, and greeting cards sold in its retail photo centers. She aims to tailor materials and finishes to the cultural climate, and for 2009-2010, she is thinking, "People need optimism." HP's new products will feature vibrant colors such as "corals and brighter blues," and materials such as linen and embossed leather, which suggest a "back-to-nature" sentiment among consumers.

  • Walleye's Microwave Camera Brings X-ray Vision Home

    What handyman hasn't wished for the power to see through walls and know if that drill will hit wire or pipe? Massachusetts-based Walleye Technologies plans to offer that capability in late 2009 with handheld microwave cameras that see past the surface. "It's been known for some time that microwave technology can be used to generate images," says CEO Chris Adams, noting that the primary obstacle to Superman-like vision has always been price.

Fast Talk

  • ESPN Scores With Broadband TV Network

    Damon Phillips
    Vice President,

    > Bristol, Connecticut

    Damon Phillips, 36, joined ESPN a year ago to run its on-demand broadband sports channel. Previously, he founded, which let users create personalized sports viewing schedules.


  • Updates

    There's no shortage of drama at Liz Claiborne. On election night, Michelle Obama wore a black-and-red dress by Narciso Rodriguez. Unfortunately for Liz CEO William McComb, he had just ended the company's relationship with the designer.


  • Numerology: The Business of Roses

    Know what's a blooming big business? Roses! And while you may not love Valentine's Day, flower people do — it's the busiest day of their year. Here's a look at this fragrant industry, with an assist from Douglas Brenner and Stephen Scanniello's new book, A Rose by Any Name.


  • Why Incentives Are Irresistible, Effective, and Likely to Backfire

    Ken O'Brien was an NFL quarterback in the 1980s and 1990s. Early in his career, he threw a lot of interceptions, so one clever team lawyer wrote a clause into O'Brien's contract penalizing him for each one he threw. The incentive worked as intended: His interceptions plummeted. But that's because he stopped throwing the ball.

    Years ago, AT&T executives tried to encourage productivity by paying programmers based on the number of lines of code they produced. The result: programs of Proustian length.

  • Six Tools to Help Tackle Overflowing Email

    Cheers. Literally, cheers. When I speak at companies like Cisco and implore employees to find email alternatives, they erupt. That's how much corporate America hates email. I'm not surprised. We're drowning in it. The average worker receives 200 a day, according to the research firm Basex. What's worse, there's a lot of important stuff trapped in those messages, but if you're armed only with Microsoft Outlook, which treats all messages the same, good luck plucking out the pearls.

  • The Best Super Bowl Ad Ever!

    What if a dozen major marketers joined forces to create one mega ad? The most memorable (yet familiar) spot in TV history.

  • Can Wind Power a Rural Renaissance?

    Jon Bergstrom, a cotton and hay farmer in Sweetwater, Texas (population 10,472), looks outside his window every day and feels grateful. The giant white towers spinning on the near horizon have everything to do with it. Sweetwater is in Nolan County, which boasts more wind turbines than any other U.S. county. Its 1,253 turbines produce a total of 2,000 megawatts of electricity per year at peak. (Coal-fired power plants average 603 megawatts.)

From the Editor

  • Editor's Letter: What Obama and Shaun White Have in Common

    When we decided to put Barack Obama on our cover early last year, he was trailing well behind Hillary Clinton in the polls. We were cautioned by magazine insiders about the risk, but by the time our article was finished and hit newsstands, Obama had triumphed on Super Tuesday and was the front-runner.